Whether it's of the black, sludge, ambient, folk, doom, goth, death, experimental, power, stoner, thrash, symphonic, Scandinavian, or hair variety, 2011 offered up a solid slate of metal opuses, many of which found their respective practitioners either tweaking or dismantling their often lazily assigned sub-genres with unhinged glee. Some settled in (Black Dahlia Murder, Primordial, Hate Eternal) and crafted textbook slabs of sonic sorcery that showed a complete mastery of their myriad styles, some burst forth from the coals fit and smoldering (Morne, Summon the Crows), and some fanned already established flames in subtle new directions (Opeth, Mastodon, Hammers of Misfortune), while others (Tyr, Tombs, Turisas) provided the soundtrack for the 200 hours you lost collecting dragon scales and decorating your house in Windhelm with troll skulls, hagraven feathers, and mammoth tusks while traversing the Nordic badlands of Tamriel under the considerable spell of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Altar of Plagues - Mammal
Amon Amarth - Surtur Rising
The Atlas Moth - An Ache for the Distance
The Black Dahlia Murder - Ritual
Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street
Hate Eternal - Phoenix Amongst the Ashes
Imbroglio - Sleep Deprivation
In Solitude - The World. The Flesh. The Devil
KEN Mode - Venerable
Krallice - Diotima
Liturgy - Aesthethica
Mastodon - The Hunter
Morne - Asylum
Opeth - Heritage
Primordial - Redemption at the Puritan's Hand
Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
Subrosa - No Help for the Mighty Ones
Suidakra - Book of Dowth
Summon the Crows - One More for the Gallows
Tombs - Path of Totality
Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
Turisas - Stand Up and Fight
Týr - Lay of Thrym
Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
YOB - Atma